San Diego police officer in court, accused of trashing home - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego police officer in court, accused of trashing foreclosed home

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RIVERSIDE (CBS 8) - A San Diego police officer sworn to uphold the law appeared in a Riverside County courtroom Wednesday, accused of trashing his own foreclosed home.

San Diego police officer Robert Acosta and his wife Monique were in court Wednesday to answer to charges they vandalized their house near Temecula last June while it was in the process of being foreclosed on.

The couple pleaded not guilty to the felony charges they are facing. If convicted, each could spend up to four years in state prison.

The total damage to the six-bedroom tract home, combined with the alleged theft, was estimated at $200,000 by the prosecution. They are accused of stealing garage doors, countertops and drawers, air conditioners and appliances from the home, which was valued at $580,000 in 2006.

"Certainly, restitution is something that we're seeking," said deputy district attorney Arthur Chang. Referring to the damage, he added "It was a sign of maliciousness and  bitterness. It was over the top."

But the Acostas' defense attorney said this should be pursued as a civil, not a criminal, matter. "The claim of the prosecution of 4200,000 is greatly exaggerated," said defense attorney Albert Arena.

"They are good people... good people who may have made bad decisions," Arena added.

Neighbors who lived on the same street as the Acostas say they were well-liked.

"It is very sad, especially with him being a police officer," said Jennifer Peet, whose family moved into the neighborhood the same week as Robert and Monique Acosta.

The couple remains free on $65,000 bail each. They are scheduled to return to court November 19 for a settlement conference.

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